The Persian Gulf has been a major source of natural pearls throughout history. Pearling was a significant industry in regions like Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. This dangerous profession was known for its risks but also for the potential rewards of finding valuable pearls. In the 19th century, the development of cultured pearls revolutionized the pearl industry. Kokichi Mikimoto of Japan is credited with perfecting the technique of culturing pearls, leading to increased accessibility and affordability. Pearls gained popularity in the early 20th century, particularly during the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements.
Today cultured pearls are the most common type available in the market. These pearls are created by inserting a nucleus into an oyster or mussel, stimulating the formation of a pearl. Major sources of cultured pearls include Japan, China, Australia, and various countries in the South Pacific. Additionally, natural pearls, formed without human intervention, are still found but are extremely rare and valuable.
Being wildly popular in France, the French cut can be traced back to the 1400’s but became more common in the 1700’s and making a third debut in the Art Deco era (1920’s). Evolving through time, with a wide variety of faceting combinations. This hand cut shape is most used for smaller accent gems. Making the French cut shape used on a variety of gems, like sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and semi-precious gemstones. The simplistic design of the French cut produces a spectacular light display lighting up the facets with ease. With a livelier appearance this cut was perfect in accenting the geometric designs of the Art Deco era, used in bracelets, accenting diamonds in engagement rings, and placed in eternity bands. The facets in this cut give the piece they are in a beautiful vibrance other accents are unable to achieve.
The crisscross pattern of the triangular facets of the square or rectangle French Cut gems encourages their brilliance. While giving gems an exquisite shape perfectly versatile, focal point or accent piece, the French cut was a steppingstone in creating today’s modern step and brilliant cuts.
Concluding World War II, the style of this era is heavenly inspired by the war and its victory. Many elements from the Art Deco reign are carried through. The symmetrical, geometric designs become bolder and amplified through the time. Allowing this era to be filled with large colorful gemstones, yellow gold, platinum, and white gold. With metal shortages on the rise white gold became more dominate in the jewelry world. With gemstones, diamonds, and metals difficult to come by recycling older unused pieces becomes the trend. Giving worn pieces new life allowed a new look to be created without taking any needed materials from our soldiers. Convertible pieces like necklaces or brooches, also take the spotlight these pieces allowed a variety of looks without the abundant use if materials. Metals were not the only thing effected by the war gemstones and diamonds were troublesome to come by as well. This made it so smaller gems were used in abundance, the pave style settings increased in popularity. Along with dome shaped rings, these domes would be encrusted in small vibrant gems often making floral or geometric shapes. These styles may not be as blingy as previous eras, but the pave settings allowed for big sparkle with the materials available. This eleven-year span is a great combination of past eras, full of vibrant colors and detailed design. Many of these styles are still used today.